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Michael Mower - Southern Utah University. Cedar City, UT, US

Michael Mower Michael Mower

Executive Director of SUU Aviation / Chief Flight Instructor | Southern Utah University


Specializing in pilot training, advanced and aerobatic helicopter flight, aviation safety, and aerial search and rescue


Michael Mower is the executive director and chief flight instructor for Southern Utah University's aviation program. Mower brings his years of service in the United States Air Force to the classroom, enriching discussions and interactions with current students.

During his time in the Air Force, Mower worked in the fuels and cryogenics lab and was the lead instructor for the Honor Guard detachment at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho. After leaving the Air Force, Mower started a research and development company specializing in advanced metals and cutting-edge heat-treating protocols. Through this research, Mower has authored or co-authored multiple patents.

In 2013, Mower started SUU's aviation program with a small staff and 30 students. Under his leadership, the program has grown to 75 instructors and 600 students. He has a skilled and diverse team that can offer instruction on aircraft safety, maintenance, fixed-wing, and rotor wing. With the recent growth, the aviation program has made Cedar City Regional Airport the second busiest airport in Utah. The Iron County Sheriff's Air Operation Division heavily relies on SUU's pilots and instructors to assist in aerial surveillance, pursuit, drug interdiction, and search and rescue efforts.

As a veteran, Mower understands the needs of his student veterans and advocates on their behalf. As an active lobbyist for veterans' rights in Washington D.C., Mower understands the value of developing mutually beneficial relationships and assembled a team of key senators and representatives. The team that Mower has assembled has successfully defended veteran's educational benefits for almost a decade and has two pieces of legislation signed into law by the President of the United States.

Mike Mower trained under Chuck Aaron of Hollywood and Red Bull Fame and is now one of the few pilots in the United States that can perform aerobatic flight in a helicopter. These skills and the partnership with Chuck Aaron allowed SUU's Aviation program to open the Advanced Flight Academy. This Academy trains elite pilots from around the world in advanced and tactical flight and accidental light into inadvertent instrument meteorological conditions (IIMC). This program is the first in the country to offer training that focuses explicitly on the prevention and recovery from these conditions.






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Industry Expertise (5)




Airport Services


Areas of Expertise (18)

Aviation Education

Helicopter Flight

Helicopter Aerobatic Flight

FAA Regulations

Inadvertent Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IIMC)

Tactical Flight

Intergovernmental relations

Federal Lobbying

Military/VA Benefits

Veteran Services

Cockpit Research Management

Aviation History

Aviation Safety and Training

Pilot Training

Aerial Search and Rescue

Commercial Aviation

Weather Development Patterns and Aviation Hazards

Physiological, Psychological, & Enviromental Factors on Pilot Performance

Education (2)

Southern Utah University: Bachelors, Interdisciplinary Studies

Southern Utah University: Masters, Interdisciplinary Studies

Accomplishments (5)

Professional Provider of the Year

Southern Utah University

Airman of the Year

United States Air Force

Honor Guard Member of the Year

United States Air Force

Director / Chief Pilot Iron County Air Operations

Partnership with Iron County Sheriff's Department

Director / Chief Pilot Chuck Aaron Advanced Flight Academy at SUU Aviation

SUU Aviation's Chuck Aaron Academy will train pilots to prevent and safely exit unusual attitudes brought on by hazardous weather conditions. Aaron and a select group of SUU's pilots teach others how to navigate these deadly scenarios safely.

Affiliations (4)

  • Iron County Sheriff's Air Operations Division
  • Helicopter Association International
  • Utah Aerospace Pathway Program
  • Utah Rotor Pathway Program

Media Appearances (18)

What to expect from final NTSB report at 1-year anniversary mark for Kobe Bryant’s deadly helicopter crash

Daily News  online


“If you remove your eyes from the equation and accelerate in a flat line, your brain interprets that as going up. When we fly into a cloud, and everything is white, all sorts of vestibular illusions take over,” Michael Mower, executive director of Southern Utah University’s aviation program, told The News.

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SUU and Chuck Aaron Partner in Helicopter Upset Training

SUU University News  online


"Chuck Aaron's addition to SUU Aerospace represents a significant leap in our training capabilities," said Michael Mower, executive director of SUU Aviation.

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SUU approves creation of new college for expanding aviation program

KUTV  online


“The hard work and dedication of the entire aviation team has transformed aviation training across the globe,” stated Michael Mower, executive director of SUU Aviation Services. “It is this devotion by SUU’s senior administration and Board of Trustees that led to the creation of the College of Aerospace Sciences and Technology.”

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Marshall partners with SUU to explore opportunities in aviation

The Parthenon  online


Aviation can take people almost anywhere, and it has taken Marshall University all the way to Southern Utah University.

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Sundance Helicopters Partners with Southern Utah University for SkyPath Helicopter Pilot Development Initiative

Avaition Pros  online


Sundance Helicopters, Inc., and the Sundance Skypath Program has partnered with Southern Utah University in Cedar City Utah to bring the helicopter pilot development program to the university’s pilot candidate students.

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SUU Aviation Assists In SAR Of Lost Snowshoers

Utah Public Radio  online


Two snowshoers have Iron County Search & Rescue and the aviation program at SUU to thank after becoming lost, after dark in the backcountry of southern Utah, Sunday.

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Lost southern Utah snowshoers rescued by SUU pilots

KSL  online


Search and rescue crews and Southern Utah University pilots found two lost snowshoers Sunday night near Brian Head using night vision technology.

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Episode 29: SUU Aviation - Meeting the Needs of Students and Industry with Mike Mower

Solutions for Higher Education  online

Southern Utah University President Scott L Wyatt and Steve Meredith talk with Mike Mower, the Executive Director and Chief Flight Instructor in SUU's Aviation Program.

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New SUU Partnership Promotes Women Pilots

The Spectrum  online


I Hart Flying and Southern Utah University held a press conference announcing a partnership designed to encourage women to be pilots.

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Giving them wings: SUU partnership invites women into aviation

The Spectrum  online


Southern Utah University Aviation Director Michael Mower speaks to press, announcing a partnership with the I Hart Flying Foundation, designed to encourage women to be pilots at the Cedar City Airport Tuesday, June 5, 2018.

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Southern Utah University's Aviation Program Has Students Job-Ready With State of The Art Planes

Good4Utah  tv


Mike Mower is the Executive Director and Chief Instructor of Southern Utah University's aviation program. He says, “We are the only collegiate program that has these brand new SR-20s,” Mower adds, "Flying these at our altitude, it is a smooth flight, it's also one of the safest aircraft out there.”

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Southern Utah University Student Aviators Take to the Skies When Calls for Help go Out

St. George News  online


Southern Utah University’s aviation program is setting the benchmark for aerial support assistance programs across the country as students take to the skies sporting night-vision technology when calls go out for help.

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SUU Aviation Working to Change FAA Curriculum

Good4Utah  tv


Experts from Southern Utah University's Flight Training Program are headed to Washington hoping to change outdated ways aviation students are taught.

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Utah Flight Programs Increase Fleets, Partner with Airlines to Meet 'Insatiable' Demand for Pilots

Economic Development Corporation of Utah  online


Bracing for a potential surge of aviation students, Southern Utah University this year spent about $3.8 million on 10 new Cirrus airplanes.

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Aviation Program Expands at Southern Utah University

AV Web  online


Southern Utah University is advancing its aviation program with the purchase of ten new planes from Cirrus Aircraft expected to begin arriving in June. The fleet of Thunderbird-red, fixed-wing planes features the Cirrus SR20 - a technologically advanced, easy-to-fly modern training platform that will prepare both flight instructors and students to fly tomorrow's commercial airliners, military and general aviation aircraft.

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Eyes in the Air

Southern Utah University  online


From 30 to 170 students in just three years, the Southern Utah University Aviation program has grown into a well-established entity in southern Utah. While the 80+ employees staffed in the program work to teach, maintain aircraft and execute day-to-day operations, there are further-reaching benefits to the SUU Aviation in addition to the instruction of future pilots.

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SUU Aviation partners with SkyWest Airlines

The Spectrum  online


“The agreement cements SUU as a premier flight training school and helps us expand our program,” said Mike Mower, executive director at SUU Aviation.

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Pilots Deputized to Aid Iron County Sheriff’s Office

Southern Utah University  online


On March 23 pilots from Upper Limit Aviation (ULA) partnered with Southern Utah University and were sworn in as deputies at the Iron County Sheriff’s Office.

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Courses (8)

PILT 1010 Air Transportation

This course will trace the evolution of the aviation industry from its earliest days through the modern age. Topics addressed include significant aviation events and individuals, aircraft development, deregulation, administrative bodies, organizations and commercial companies that have influenced and/or continue to shape the domestic and international aviation industry.

PILT 1040 Aviation Orientation

This course will orient students to the SUU Professional Pilot Program and career opportunities in the broader aviation industry. The course will cover, among other topics, financial aid, transfer & articulation, pilot training regulations and procedures, key aviation organization such as the FAA and Air Traffic Control, career opportunities in general, commercial and military aviation.

PILT 1420 Aircraft Systems

This course provides a study of the design, construction and theory of operation of basic systems common to fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft. Topics covered Include power plant, flight control, fuel, hydraulic, lubrication, airframe, landing gear, instrumentation and electrical systems.

PILT 2050 Aviation Meteorology

A study of atmospheric conditions and their related effects on aeronautical operations. Topics covered include basic meteorological principles/physics, atmospheric properties, weather developmental patterns and associated aviation hazards including thunderstorms, wind shear, turbulence, icing and low visibility, weather observation and forecasting resources, understanding weather information.

PILT 2250 Aerodynamics

Practical application of the laws of physics in the design and operation of aircraft. Specific topics covered include basic forces of flight, airplane and helicopter principles of operation, weight and balance, stability and control, high speed flight and aircraft design and testing.

PILT 2310 Human Factors and Safety

This course examines pilot performance as a function of physiological, psychological and environmental factors. Specific topics addressed include human physiology, training programs, stress, fatigue, spatial disorientation, visual illusions, cockpit resource management, decision making and cockpit design.

PILT 2445 RW Mountain Operations Lab

Students will learn proper techniques for safe mountain flying operations. This course includes practical application under the direction of an experienced mountain pilot.

PILT 2455 External Load RW Lab

Students will learn proper techniques for safe procedures in specialized areas of rotorcraft operations. This course includes practical applications with external loads under the direction of an experienced utility pilot.